I was actually planning for my main post this week to be a review of Sally Green’s Half Bad, but, alas, I seem to have entered a slight reading slump, & I still haven’t finished it yet… 😦 So I’ve decided to start off a new series of posts that I’ve been planning – thematic recs! They’ll be short lists of books (3-4 each) that I liked, which fit into certain different categories, & some of them will probably be super-specific.
This one was pretty hard to narrow down, as quite a few of my favourite books are sad contemporaries (and there are tonnes more that are also really well done), but here’s four of them to start you off:
1) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky follows a teenage boy named Charlie, who is just starting high school and doesn’t really know how to go about making friends. He’s also dealing with some personal issues at the same time, and has actually just got out of hospital when the book starts. The whole book is written as letters, which is something that usually annoys me in novels, but this one is incredibly well done. There was also a film adaptation released quite recently (last year?), and that’s very good, too.
2) Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is a slow-burning love story between two teenagers (called Eleanor and Park, as I’m sure you could tell), which deals with themes like bullying and domestic abuse. I can’t tell you too much more about it without entering spoiler territory, but it was amazing to read. Also, Rainbow Rowell’s writing is like some kind of drug – every word made me deliriously happy.
3) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Another one where telling you too much before you start would spoil it slightly, but I can tell you that this is probably the most emotionally hard-hitting of all the books on this list. It follows a girl named Melinda, who’s starting a new year at school, but has for various reasons been abandoned by all her friends. Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen progresses along a similar vein, but is considerably lighter, if Speak is too heavy for you.
4) Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick is probably the most obscure book on this list. It’s about two boys: Max, who is large but slow-learning, and his neighbour Kevin, who is incredibly intelligent but crippled. Both boys have significant problems both at school and at home, and they use their imaginations to escape from it. The story of their growing friendship is sad but also incredibly touching.